Archive | Right Wing Coup

About those Trump transition emails

'A weapon of desperation': Trump loyalists are doubling down on a familiar strategy as the Russia probe reaches a boiling point

You’ve likely seen or heard all the uproar this weekend about the news that Bob Mueller has had the Trump transition team emails since September.

Here’s why they’re important: Mueller requested the transition team to turn over their emails. Trumpers did not realize he could check them against the full email record. This means a lot more people may be charged with lying to the FBI.

Even worse? It seems the Trump people had a coverup arrangement with the GSA’s general counsel not to release the emails to Mueller, but their fixer was in the hospital when Mueller requested the emails. (He later died.) He was a lawyer with (wait for it) Rudy Giuliani’s firm!

You see where this is headed, right?

Now, anyone who’s ever worked for the feds (or any large corporation, really) knows work emails on work servers don’t belong to you. They belong to your employer — in this case, the federal government. Mueller didn’t even need a warrant; he just had to make a request.

This is what all the attacks on Mueller last week were about. Look at Fox News:

“Coup In America”? Yeah, that happened a year ago. We’re trying to fix it. Pro tip: You can’t claim executive privilege on an office you didn’t hold yet.

There’s lots more, but you get the idea.

Mueller’s office made a rare comment on the matter:

Clearly, Trump is teeing up to fire Mueller — and GOP leaders are lining up behind them, because some of them are implicated, too. So are Trump’s third-rate lawyers.

Get ready to call, write, or take to the streets. Democracy is going to need us.

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Cambridge Analytica under the microscope

Cambridge Analytica: 'Getting people to vote no different from marketing toothpaste'

This is interesting, because last night, the Wall St. Journal said Mueller requested their emails a couple of months ago. Hmm:

The ranking members of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees want to subpoena two of the data firms hired by President Donald Trump’s campaign team for documents related to their potential engagement with foreign actors like Russia and WikiLeaks during the election.

Reps. Elijah Cummings and Jerry Nadler sent a letter to Cambridge Analytica’s CEO Alexander Nix and Giles-Parscale cofounder Brad Parscale — who also served as the Trump campaign’s digital director — in October. The letter asked whether their firms received “information from a foreign government or foreign actor” at any point during the election.

The letter was also sent to the heads of Deep Root Analytics, TargetPoint Consulting, and The Data Trust, which were among the outfits hired by the Republican National Committee to bolster the Trump campaign’s data operation.

Whereas Deep Root, TargetPoint, and The Data Trust responded to the documents request, Cambridge Analytica did not. Parscale’s response, moreover, was insufficient, the Democrats said.

“As I made clear in the 60 Minutes interview cited in your letter, I share your concerns and would not want foreign governments meddling in our elections,” Parscale wrote, referring to his interview with CBS earlier this year about Russia’s election interference. “But as I stated in that same interview, I do not have any firsthand knowledge of foreign interference in the 2016 election.”

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CIA: We saw Putin’s instructions to hack the election

As elections loom, Putin says it’s not his fault there isn’t any competition

How about that?

When Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director James B. Comey all went to see Donald Trump together during the presidential transition, they told him conclusively that they had “captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation” to hack the 2016 presidential election, according to a report in The Washington Post. The intel bosses were worried that he would explode but Trump remained calm during the carefully choreographed meeting. “He was affable, courteous, complimentary,” Clapper told the Post. Comey stayed behind afterward to tell the president-elect about the controversial Steele dossier, however, and that private meeting may have been responsible for the animosity that would eventually lead to Trump firing the director of the FBI.

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CNN reporter defies Huckabee Sanders threat, asks Trump about offensive tweet

CNN's Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta

During another press pool spray of Trump showing off his autograph, CNN’s Jim Acosta was ignored by Donald when he asked what he meant by his sexually suggestive and offensive tweet to Sen. Gillibrand. As Trump was departing, Acosta asked, “Mr. President, what did you mean when you said that Kirsten Gillibrand would do anything for… Continue Reading →

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Congress plans to cut tax write-offs for disaster damage

NWP-Thomas-Fire-1537

Congress is planning to limit taxpayers’ ability to write off losses from wildfires and other disasters. The disaster write-off is one of the many little-known deductions that would be mostly wiped out in the Republican tax plan, but it’s getting new attention because of the fires that have devastated parts of Southern California over the past week. Continue Reading →

The Russia probe is about to get uglier

'A weapon of desperation': Trump loyalists are doubling down on a familiar strategy as the Russia probe reaches a boiling point

How will it all turn out?

There are three avenues Mueller is exploring. Did the Trump team aid and abet the Russian efforts to hack and steal e-mails with an eye toward influencing with the U.S. presidential election? Did the president try to obstruct the investigation into those efforts? What was the nature of any financial arrangements Trump may have had with Russians linked to the Kremlin? Many of the Trump defenses seem to be unraveling.

U.S. intelligence agencies have reported “with high confidence” that the Russian government was behind break-ins to the email accounts of Democratic operatives during the 2016 presidential campaign as part of a campaign to “undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process” and harm Hillary Clinton’s “electability and potential presidency.” In a January report, the agencies said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government “developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

The question now is whether Trump or his team knew about this and facilitated the dissemination of the stolen material through WikiLeaks and other sources. The secrecy and contradictory accounts of their communications with Russian sources undercuts their repeated claims that their contacts were innocent.

By last week, Trump opponents were taking to public forums to talk about the evidence supporting an obstruction-of-justice case against Trump himself. That’s based on a chain of events involving Trump’s effort to pressure James Comey to drop the Russia probe and then firing him as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation when he didn’t.

News organizations have also reported that Trump tried to influence other key officials to curtail investigations, including National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, National Security Agency director Admiral Mike Rogers and House Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr. Coats and the others have avoided commenting directly on these accounts, which nevertheless appear to worry the White House enough to produce a claim last week by Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, that a president can never be guilty of obstruction because he is the chief law-enforcement officer under the Constitution.

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